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- Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1 - 2/59 -


show no traces of the All Father belief.

The books of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen also present much evidence as to a previously unknown form of totemism, in which the totem is not hereditary, and does not regulate marriage. This prevails among the Arunta "nation," and the Kaitish tribe. In the opinion of Mr. Spencer (Report Australian Association for Advancement of Science, 1904) and of Mr. J. G. Frazer (Fortnightly Review, September, 1905), this is the earliest surviving form of totemism, and Mr. Frazer suggests an animistic origin for the institution. I have criticised these views in The Secret of the Totem (1905), and proposed a different solution of the problem. (See also "Primitive and Advanced Totemism" in Journal of the Anthropological Institute, July, 1906.) In the works mentioned will be found references to other sources of information as to these questions, which are still sub judice. Mrs. Bates, who has been studying the hitherto almost unknown tribes of Western Australia, promises a book on their beliefs and institutions, and Mr. N. W. Thomas is engaged on a volume on Australian institutions. In this place the author can only direct attention to these novel sources, and to the promised third edition of Mr. Frazer's The Golden Bough.

A. L.

PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.

The original edition of Myth, Ritual and Religion, published in 1887, has long been out of print. In revising the book I have brought it into line with the ideas expressed in the second part of my Making of Religion (1898) and have excised certain passages which, as the book first appeared, were inconsistent with its main thesis. In some cases the original passages are retained in notes, to show the nature of the development of the author's opinions. A fragment or two of controversy has been deleted, and chapters xi. and xii., on the religion of the lowest races, have been entirely rewritten, on the strength of more recent or earlier information lately acquired. The gist of the book as it stands now and as it originally stood is contained in the following lines from the preface of 1887: "While the attempt is made to show that the wilder features of myth survive from, or were borrowed from, or were imitated from the ideas of people in the savage condition of thought, the existence--even among savages--of comparatively pure, if inarticulate, religious beliefs is insisted on throughout". To that opinion I adhere, and I trust that it is now expressed with more consistency than in the first edition. I have seen reason, more and more, to doubt the validity of the "ghost theory," or animistic hypothesis, as explanatory of the whole fabric of religion; and I present arguments against Mr. Tylor's contention that the higher conceptions of savage faith are borrowed from missionaries.[1] It is very possible, however, that Mr. Tylor has arguments more powerful than those contained in his paper of 1892. For our information is not yet adequate to a scientific theory of the Origin of Religion, and probably never will be. Behind the races whom we must regard as "nearest the beginning" are their unknown ancestors from a dateless past, men as human as ourselves, but men concerning whose psychical, mental and moral condition we can only form conjectures. Among them religion arose, in circumstances of which we are necessarily ignorant. Thus I only venture on a surmise as to the germ of a faith in a Maker (if I am not to say "Creator") and Judge of men. But, as to whether the higher religious belief, or the lower mythical stories came first, we are at least certain that the Christian conception of God, given pure, was presently entangled, by the popular fancy of Europe, in new Marchen about the Deity, the Madonna, her Son, and the Apostles. Here, beyond possibility of denial, pure belief came first, fanciful legend was attached after. I am inclined to surmise that this has always been the case, and, in the pages on the legend of Zeus, I show the processes of degeneration, of mythical accretions on a faith in a Heaven-God, in action. That "the feeling of religious devotion" attests "high faculties" in early man (such as are often denied to men who "cannot count up to seven"), and that "the same high mental faculties . . . would infallibly lead him, as long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs," was the belief of Mr. Darwin.[2] That is also my view, and I note that the lowest savages are not yet guilty of the very worst practices, "sacrifice of human beings to a blood-loving God," and ordeals by poison and fire, to which Mr. Darwin alludes. "The improvement of our science" has freed us from misdeeds which are unknown to the Andamanese or the Australians. Thus there was, as regards these points in morals, degeneracy from savagery as society advanced, and I believe that there was also degeneration in religion. To say this is not to hint at a theory of supernatural revelation to the earliest men, a theory which I must, in limine disclaim.

[1] Tylor, "Limits of Savage Religion." Journal of the Anthropological Institute, vol. xxi.

[2] Descent of Man, p. 68, 1871.

In vol. ii. p. 19 occurs a reference, in a note, to Mr. Hartland's criticism of my ideas about Australian gods as set forth in the Making of Religion. Mr. Hartland, who kindly read the chapters on Australian religion in this book, does not consider that my note on p. 19 meets the point of his argument. As to the Australians, I mean no more than that, AMONG endless low myths, some of them possess a belief in a "maker of everything," a primal being, still in existence, watching conduct, punishing breaches of his laws, and, in some cases, rewarding the good in a future life. Of course these are the germs of a sympathetic religion, even if the being thus regarded is mixed up with immoral or humorous contradictory myths. My position is not harmed by such myths, which occur in all old religions, and, in the middle ages, new myths were attached to the sacred figures of Christianity in poetry and popular tales.

Thus, if there is nothing "sacred" in a religion because wild or wicked fables about the gods also occur, there is nothing "sacred" in almost any religion on earth.

Mr. Hartland's point, however, seems to be that, in the Making of Religion, I had selected certain Australian beliefs as especially "sacred" and to be distinguished from others, because they are inculcated at the religious Mysteries of some tribes. His aim, then, is to discover low, wild, immoral myths, inculcated at the Mysteries, and thus to destroy my line drawn between religion on one hand and myth or mere folk-lore on the other. Thus there is a being named Daramulun, of whose rites, among the Coast Murring, I condensed the account of Mr. Howitt.[1] From a statement by Mr. Greenway[2] Mr. Hartland learned that Daramulun's name is said to mean "leg on one side" or "lame". He, therefore, with fine humour, speaks of Daramulun as "a creator with a game leg," though when "Baiame" is derived by two excellent linguists, Mr. Ridley and Mr. Greenway, from Kamilaroi baia, "to make," Mr. Hartland is by no means so sure of the sense of the name. It happens to be inconvenient to him! Let the names mean what they may, Mr. Hartland finds, in an obiter dictum of Mr. Howitt (before he was initiated), that Daramulun is said to have "died," and that his spirit is now aloft. Who says so, and where, we are not informed,[3] and the question is important.

[1] J. A. I., xiii. pp. 440-459.

[2] Ibid., xxi. p. 294.

[3] Ibid., xiii. p. 194.

For the Wiraijuri, IN THEIR MYSTERIES, tell a myth of cannibal conduct of Daramulun's, and of deceit and failure of knowledge in Baiame.[1] Of this I was unaware, or neglected it, for I explicitly said that I followed Mr. Howitt's account, where no such matter is mentioned. Mr. Howitt, in fact, described the Mysteries of the Coast Murring, while the narrator of the low myths, Mr. Matthews, described those of a remote tribe, the Wiraijuri, with whom Daramulun is not the chief, but a subordinate person. How Mr. Matthews' friends can at once hold that Daramulun was "destroyed" by Baiame (their chief deity), and also that Daramulun's voice is heard at their rites, I don't know.[2] Nor do I know why Mr. Hartland takes the myth of a tribe where Daramulun is "the evil spirit who rules the night,"[3] and introduces it as an argument against the belief of a distant tribe, where, by Mr. Howitt's account, Daramulun is not an evil spirit, but "the master" of all, whose abode is above the sky, and to whom are attributed powers of omnipotence and omnipresence, or, at any rate, the power "to do anything and to go anywhere. . . . To his direct ordinances are attributed the social and moral laws of the community."[4] This is not "an evil spirit"! When Mr. Hartland goes for scandals to a remote tribe of a different creed that he may discredit the creed of the Coast Murring, he might as well attribute to the Free Kirk "the errors of Rome". But Mr. Hartland does it![5] Being "cunning of fence" he may reply that I also spoke loosely of Wiraijuri and Coast Murring as, indifferently, Daramulunites. I did, and I was wrong, and my critic ought not to accept but to expose my error. The Wiraijuri Daramulun, who was annihilated, yet who is "an evil spirit that rules the night," is not the Murring guardian and founder of recognised ethics.

[1] J. A. I., xxv. p. 297.

[2] Ibid., May, 1895, p. 419.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., xiii. pp. 458, 459.

[5] Folk-Lore, ix., No. iv., p. 299.

But, in the Wiraijuri mysteries, the master, Baiame, deceives the women as to the Mysteries! Shocking to US, but to deceive the women as to these arcana, is, to the Australian mind in general, necessary for the safety of the world. Moreover, we have heard of a lying spirit sent to deceive prophets in a much higher creed. Finally, in a myth of the Mystery of the Wiraijuri, Baiame is not omniscient. Indeed, even civilised races cannot keep on the level of these religious conceptions, and not to keep on that level is-- mythology. Apollo, in the hymn to Hermes, sung on a sacred occasion, needs to ask an old vine-dresser for intelligence. Hyperion "sees all and hears all," but needs to be informed, by his daughters, of the slaughter of his kine. The Lord, in the Book of Job, has to ask Satan, "Whence comest thou?" Now for the sake of dramatic effect, now from pure inability to live on the level of


Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1 - 2/59

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